Power Points

  • Millennials are the largest living generation. Today, there are 72.1 million in the U.S. 

  • Millennials are the generation with the most digital buyers. Today, 85.9% of Millennials make purchases online. 

  • On average, Millennials make 60% of their purchases online.

  • Millennial shoppers depend on ratings and reviews to make informed purchase decisions, regardless of channel. 99.9% read reviews when shopping online and 63% do so when shopping in-store.

  • Millennials don’t write reviews as frequently as they read them. Just over half write reviews multiple times per month.

  • Understanding what motivates Millennials to write reviews can help brands and retailers generate more content from this large, important demographic.

Millennials, people born between 1981 and 1996, are a force to be reckoned with.

Today, there are 72.1 million Millennials in the U.S., making it the largest living generation. And they’re willing to spend money with the brands they love. According to Statista, Millennial-led households in the U.S. spent an average of nearly $60,000 in 2019. 

There’s no denying that the shopping habits of Millennial consumers are vastly different from those of the generations that came before them.

Namely, Millennials shop online more than older generations — and they depend on feedback from other consumers throughout the purchase journey.

In order to attract and retain Millennial shoppers, brands and retailers must understand these key differences — and adapt their strategies accordingly.

Reviews are Essential for Online Millennial Shoppers

Millennials were the first generation to grow up with the internet. So it’s probably not surprising that they’re also the generation most likely to shop online. According to eMarketer, 85.9% of Millennials were digital buyers in 2020, compared to 78% of Gen X and 60.9% of Baby Boomers. 

When they’re shopping online, they depend on reviews and other types of user-generated content to navigate the journey and make informed purchase decisions. In fact, 99.9% of Millennials say that they read reviews when shopping online at least sometimes. 

Reviews influence where Millennials choose to shop online — more so than any other generation. 85% of Millennials say they specifically seek out websites with reviews, compared to 76% of Gen X’ers and 70% of Boomers.

Millennials Seek out Websites with Reviews

And if Millennials can’t find the content they’re looking for, they’re likely to pass on the product altogether. Nearly half (48%) of Millennials indicate that they won’t purchase a product if there are no reviews for it, compared to 42% of Gen X shoppers and 39% of Boomers.

Of course, glowing reviews help Millennial shoppers understand how great a product is. But this generation also wants to learn about the worst case scenario before committing to a purchase. 

And they do this by reading negative reviews. 97% of Millennials specifically seek out negative reviews at least sometimes. And 60% say they specifically seek out one star reviews. In fact, Millennials are the generation most likely to seek out one star content.

Seeking Out One-Star Reviews

Negative reviews help Millennial shoppers make better purchase decisions. What’s more, when you display negative reviews, it helps you earn the trust of Millennial shoppers. After all, 47% say they’re suspicious of products with a perfect five star rating.

Millennials Use Reviews In-Store, Too

Up until this point, we’ve focused on how reviews impact online shopping behavior. But today, most Millennials continue to do at least some of their shopping in a brick-and-mortar store. Per Digital Commerce 360, Millennials do 60% of their shopping online. The remaining 40% happens in a physical store location.

Millennials use reviews when shopping in-person, too. In fact, Millennials are the generation most likely to consult reviews when shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. 63% of Millennials read reviews when shopping in physical store locations, compared to 56% of Gen X shoppers and 39% of Boomers. 

How to Generate More Reviews from Millennial Shoppers

Millennials are shopping online more than any other generation. And they place a tremendous value on reviews when they do so.

So it’s easy to assume that Millennials also write a lot of reviews. But that’s not exactly the case. Our research found that just over half (53%) of Millennials say they write reviews multiple times per month.

Once you determine what motivates Millennial shoppers to write reviews, there’s potential to significantly increase your review volume. But what exactly do you need to do to encourage more reviews from this demographic? 

Recently, we surveyed more than 10,000 consumers to understand what motivates them to write reviews. For the purposes of this blog, we’re zeroing in on the behaviors of Millennial shoppers to provide five recommendations for generating more content from this group.   

1. Deliver Great Experiences

You may think Millennials are more likely to write reviews if they’ve had a bad experience. But our research tells us this actually isn’t the case.

Rather, a great experience is the top motivator for Millennials to write reviews. 92% of Millennials say that a great experience motivates them to write a review, compared to 76% that indicate a negative review motivates them to write a review.

Factors that Motivate Consumers to Leave a Rating/Review
A positive experience
92%
Receiving free product samples
87%
A negative experience
76%
Incentives (reward points, discounts, etc)
73%
Helping and guiding others
68%
Desire to help brand improve product
64%
Being part of a reviewer community
50%
Reading ratings and reviews from others
45%
Validation from other shoppers
26%

So make it a priority to consistently deliver great products and experiences to your customers. 

Of course, developing great products is essential. But so too is managing expectations. Be sure to provide plenty of information — including comprehensive product descriptions, customer reviews, and professional and shopper-submitted photos and videos — to ensure shoppers have realistic expectations of your products.

That way, when the product arrives, it’ll meet customer expectations — and their great experience with your product will make them more likely to leave a review.

But remember: a great product is just one factor that contributes to a customer’s experience.

It’s also important to focus on ways to improve the experiences your shoppers have with your brand throughout the purchase journey — from browsing on your website, mobile app or brick-and-mortar store to reaching out to your customer service team when something goes wrong.

After all, Salesforce research found that 80% of consumers indicate that the experience a company provides is as important as its product or service.

Great experiences lead to happy customers. And happy customers are more likely to purchase from you again…and write positive reviews about your products.

2. Ask for Reviews -- But do it More Than Once

Of course, there are shoppers out there who will write reviews of their own volition. But more often than not, customers need to be prompted to submit a review.

One of the most effective ways to prompt shoppers is by sending a post purchase email, asking them to provide reviews for recently purchased products. Research tells us that up to 80% of reviews are the result of post sale emails. 

But as it turns out, a single email often isn’t enough — especially among Millennials. A third of Millennials say they need to be asked twice before leaving a review, and 6% need to be asked three times!

Number of Times Millennials Need to be Asked Before Leaving a Product Rating or Review

If shoppers don’t write a review after receiving your post purchase email, consider sending a second — or even a third.

It’s a low effort tactic that can help you generate a lot more review content from those Millennials who need an extra nudge.

3. Make Your Request at the Right Time

We know that it can take up to three post purchase emails to get a review from a Millennial shopper. Now, the next question is: When’s the best time to ask for reviews?” 

There’s not exactly an easy answer. Our survey also reveals that 41% of Millennials say they write reviews within four days of receiving a product — including 7% who do so the day the product arrives.

But the remaining 59% indicate they submit reviews five or more days after a product’s arrival. A quarter need to spend at least eight days with a product before they’ll consider writing a review.

Average Length of Time Taken After First Using/Receiving a Product to Submit Review

What’s more, while 32% of Millennials say they’ll write a review after using a product just once, the remaining 68% need to test drive the product at least twice before submitting feedback. 

Number of Times Product Used Before Review Submission

These data points support the need for multiple post purchase emails, spaced out over a few days or weeks, depending on the product category. At a minimum, send one shortly after a product has arrived to capture content from those shoppers willing to submit reviews after a single use. And send a second (and possibly, a third) email later on, once your Millennial shoppers have had a chance to try out the product in question multiple times.

4. Try an Incentive

Of course, the best way to get more reviews from Millennial shoppers is to provide them with great products and services. But if you want to quickly generate more reviews from this demographic, the right incentive can go a long way.

After all, 73% of Millennials indicate that an incentive would motivate them to write a review.

When you’re asking for reviews from Millennial shoppers, consider sweetening the deal by offering an incentive. The most enticing incentive for Millennials is receiving a free product sample, which probably isn’t a big surprise.

In fact, a product sampling campaign is a proven way to generate a high volume of content quickly (on average, brands and retailers that leverage PowerReviews’ sampling capabilities find that 86% of those who receive a free sample will go on to write a review).

However, there are other incentives that intrigue Millennial shoppers, including early access to a product (84%), discounts (74%) and loyalty points (65%).

Here at PowerReviews, we also have many clients that significantly boost their review volumes by offering an entry into a sweepstakes in exchange for a review.

Incentives Leading to Review Submission
Loyalty points
65%
Discounts with store/brand
74%
Receiving a product before the general public
84%
Receiving the product free of charge
91%

Whatever incentive you choose, make sure it’s prominently showcased in your post purchase emails.

For example, this post purchase email invites the consumer to enter a sweepstakes by mentioning a hashtag in their review.

It’s also a good idea to call out the incentive on the review submission page. For example, when a shopper clicks on the post purchase email above, they’re taken to a page that reminds them that they’re eligible for a sweepstakes entry for writing a review. 

Finally, be sure to disclose when a review was written as the result of an incentive. For example, shoppers can clearly see that the customer who wrote this (syndicated) review did so on the brand’s website and received an entry into a sweepstakes.

It’s an important way to be transparent — and preserve your customers’ trust.

5. Focus on Higher Priced Items

Our latest research found that reviews are particularly impactful for higher cost items. This is especially true for younger shoppers — including Millennials.

86% of Millennials say they read more reviews for expensive products, compared to 70% of Boomers and 78% of Gen X shoppers.

The most logical explanation is that there’s risk associated with purchasing expensive items, and reviews provide social proof that can help shoppers overcome that risk.

Interestingly, over a quarter of Millennials (28%) also say they’re more likely to write reviews for expensive products.

Reviews can give Millennials the confidence they need to purchase an expensive product. But a good number of Millennials are also more likely to write reviews for higher priced products.

So, put a bit of extra effort into collecting reviews for the more expensive items in your product catalog. One way to do that is to send an extra post purchase email to customers who purchase these higher priced items.

Start Leveraging Reviews to Connect with Your Millennial Shoppers

Millennials depend on reviews whether they’re shopping online or in-store. Brands and retailers must provide plenty of this content, or risk losing shoppers to a business that does.

Millennials also have the potential to be a rich source of reviews for brands and retailers. But it can be challenging to generate reviews from this busy group of shoppers, especially because their behaviors and motivations are different from other generations. 

The first step is to understand what motivates Millennials to write reviews. Then, you can use those insights to evolve your approach to review collection — and start generating a higher volume of reviews from this important demographic. 

To put it simply, more millennial reviews = more millennial conversions and sales = more millennial reviews = more millennial conversions and sales…and so on and so on.

Andrew Smith

Andrew is an experienced ecommerce technology marketer. When he's not thinking about his day job, he's running around after two small children in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood.

Power Points

  • 99.9% of consumers read reviews, and 98% consider them an essential step on the consumer path to purchase. 

  • The more reviews a brand has, the better. Shoppers who visit a product page with 1-10 reviews are 52.2% more likely to convert than those who visit pages without any reviews.

  • At the risk of stating the obvious, more reviews equals more conversions and sales, regardless of product type. However, review volume has the highest impact on conversion rate for shoppers in the electronics, CPG, furniture, and luxury goods categories.

There are a few truisms we can rely on in this life.

Cat videos will never get old, taking vacation is always a good idea, and people will always consult reviews when making a purchase.

Our latest analysis of consumer activity during more than 4.5B visits, across more than 1.5MM online product pages from more than 1,200 retail and brand sites has revealed new insights. Some aren’t so surprising, like the fact that people trust reviews more than ever. Others are a bit more surprising, like the impact of review volume on customer conversion rates.

Below we recap our latest findings on the impact of review volume on conversion, broken down by industry, with tips for boosting your own review count and quality.

The Power of Reviews

First, let’s review the impact of reviews in general (see what we did there?).

Back in 2018, we asked consumers what role reviews played in their purchase journey. At the time, 97% reported consulting reviews, and 89% considered reviews an essential part of the purchase journey.

Those numbers were impressive enough. But they’ve only grown bigger since. Nearly all (99.9%) of today’s consumers read reviews, and nearly as many (98%) consider them essential. In a world where it’s hard to know what to trust, shoppers know they can rely on reviews to be authentic and unbiased, empowering them to make an informed purchase decision.

In fact, consumer trust in reviews is so high that 86% of online shoppers say they won’t even buy products without reading reviews first.

And indeed, reviews are driving shoppers to purchase. Our 2021 UGC Conversion Impact Analysis found that when a shopper interacts with ratings and reviews on a product page, it lifts their conversion rate by 120.3%.

The Impact of Reviews on Conversion
Ecommerce UGC Page Visitor Overall
3.4%
Conversion for Those Who Interact with Reviews
7.6%
120.3% conversion lift when visitors interact with reviews

Ratings and reviews are now so critical to making purchasing decisions that they’ve edged out price as the most important factor for shoppers. 94% of shoppers say ratings and reviews are the most important factor in their decision, compared with 91% who said price (Source: Ever-Growing Power of Reviews).

Top Factors Impacting Purchase Decisions
Ratings & Reviews
94%
Price of the product
91%
Free shipping
78%
Brand of the product
65%
Recommendation from friends/family
60%
Imagery provided by people who have previously purchased the product
52%
Imagery provided by the brand or retailer
46%

The Power of Review Volume

Reviews are table stakes for business today. If reviews are so essential, does it follow that more reviews are even better?

We recently commissioned some new analysis exploring this question. To accurately assess the impact of review volume on the shopper journey, we calculate the visitor conversion rate based on the product page visited with the most reviews during a site visit (counted as all interactions with a specific site in a 24 hour period). The benefit of this consumer-centric evaluation method is that it focuses on the shopper and the impact that exposure to reviews has on likelihood to convert.

Our data from the past twelve months (5/12/2020-5/14/2021) reveals the incredible impact of review volume on conversion. 

  • When a shopper is exposed to a product page with 1 or more reviews, conversion lifts by 52.2%.
  • Shoppers visiting product pages that have 11 to 30 reviews have conversion rates that are over 2x higher than those who visit product pages with 0 reviews.
  • When products reach the holy grail of 101 reviews or more, we see shopper conversion rate increase of over 250%!

The takeaway is clear: the more reviews you have, the better.

There’s a direct, linear relationship between the number of reviews a shopper is exposed to on a product page and the lift in conversion rate.

The influence of review volume on a customer’s decision to purchase makes a lot of sense, when you take a step back to think about it. As University of South Carolina marketing professor Dr. Sungsik Park recently told the Wall Street Journal, “It’s all about sample size. The more reviews, the more likely the comments will reflect the product’s true quality.”

As important as review volume is, the consumer appetite for reviews still isn’t being met by brands and retailers. Over half (53%) of shoppers consult up to 10 reviews when buying a product, but 68% say that in an ideal world, a product would have at least 26 reviews for them to consider. Given the insatiable consumer demand for reviews, there’s a clear opportunity for brands to increase their review volume. 

The impact of review volume extends beyond individual products. Nearly six in ten shoppers say they’re more likely to buy a product that has no reviews if other products from the same brand have high overall ratings. So, good reviews for one product generate a halo effect that extends to other products. This just goes to show the power of social proof and how reviews help establish trust and credibility for a brand overall.

What About Your Industry?

Reviews are impactful irrespective of industry, but the extent of this impact does vary across verticals. Which product categories see the highest impact from reviews?

Percentage of shoppers who indicate reviews are helpful, by category
Electronics
95%
Health & Beauty
83%
Clothing
75%
Shoes
68%
Home & Garden
67%
Toys
54%
Groceries
42%
Baby
40%

Electronics & Computers

95% of consumers state reviews are helpful when shopping for electronics. In the consumer appliances & electronics category:

  • When a shopper visits a product page with between 1 and 10 reviews, there is a conversion lift of 70.5% (compared to visitors to product pages with 0 reviews).
  • If a shopper visits a product page with between 31-50 reviews, their conversion lift increases to 224.7%.

81% of consumers state reviews are helpful when shopping for computers. 

  • When a shopper visits a product page in the computer & software category with between 1-10 reviews, there is a conversion lift of 115.2% vs. a product page with 0 reviews. 
  • When a shopper visits a page with between 11 to 30 reviews, the conversion lift is 255.4% (vs a product page with 0 reviews).
  • At 31 to 50 reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 314.6%.

Reach 51 to 100 reviews, and shopper conversions lift by a giant 378.0%.

Health and Beauty

83% of consumers stated that reviews are helpful when shopping for Health and Beauty products. In this category in particular, volume is king. 

  • When a shopper visits a Health and Beauty product page with 1-10 reviews, the conversion lift is 22.1%. 
  • But when a shopper visits a product page with 101+ reviews, their conversion lift reaches 275.7%. 

Clothing & Accessories

75% of consumers find reviews helpful when shopping for clothing and 68% when shopping for shoes. 

  • When a shopper is exposed to an item in the Clothing & Accessories category with 1-10 reviews, the conversion lift is 33.6%.  
  • For a shopper who visits a product page with 11-30 reviews, their conversion lift is 67.6%.
  • For a shopper who visits a product page with 31-50 reviews, their conversion lift is 98.6%.
  • For a shopper who visits a product page with 51 to 100 reviews, their conversion lift is 107.5%.
  • For a shopper who visits a product page with 101 or more reviews, their conversion lift is 162.8%.

Grocery & Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG)

When a CPG shopper visits a product page with 1-10 reviews, their conversion rate nearly doubles – with a conversion lift of 194.5% (in comparison to visitors to pages from the same product category without any reviews)

  • For a shopper who visits a product page with 11 to 30 reviews, their conversion lift is 286.2%.
  • For a shopper who visits a product page with 31 to 50 reviews, their conversion lift is 474.4%.
  • For a shopper who visits a product page with 51 to 100 reviews, their conversion lift is 579.5%.

For a shopper who visits a product page with 101 or more reviews, their conversion lift is 686.2%.

Despite a slower ramp up, we see a similar pattern in Food and Beverage. Put simply, the more reviews a shopper is exposed to, the higher the lift in conversion rate in this category. 

  • With 11 to 30 reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 74.4%.
  • With 31 to 50 reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 160.3%.
  • With 51 to 100 reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 211.0%.
  • With 101 or more reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 270.3%.

Home and Garden

67% of consumers state reviews are helpful when shopping for home and garden products. When a shopper visits a product page in this vertical with between 1 and 10 reviews, there is a conversion lift of 44.7% (in comparison to a visitor to product pages in this category without any reviews).

In this category, more than 30 reviews appears to be the sweet spot as we don’t see a material lift as review volumes rise beyond this level.

  • With 11 to 30 reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 142.8%.
  • With 31 to 50 reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 211.6%.
  • With 51 to 100 reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 213.3%.

In the furniture category, there is a 56% lift when a shopper visits product pages with 1-10 reviews vs. those with zero. After that, the lift is exponential. 

  • With 11 to 30 reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 346%.
  • With 31 to 50 reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 564%.
  • With 51 to 100 reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 838%.

With 101+ reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 1,326% !

Jewelry and Watches

80% of consumers say that the more expensive a product is, the more they read reviews. It’s no surprise then, that conversion lifts for shoppers visiting luxury goods product pages (such as jewelry and watches) reach 147% if they have 1-10 reviews on them (in comparison to product pages in this category without any reviews):

Conclusion

The key takeaway from all this? Reviews matter. Like really matter.

Companies of all shapes and sizes scrutinize the ROI of each and every investment – which is standard practice and simple common sense. When it comes to product ratings and reviews, the ROI is very clear and is not even remotely difficult to justify.

Across all of the key categories we studied: the more reviews a product has, the higher the likelihood it has of converting a shopper to purchase. This is just a simple universal truth of ecommerce.

What does this mean for you? 1. You need to make collecting high volumes of ratings and reviews a priority and 2. When you do, you need to make sure you display this content in a way that it will have maximum impact.

This may sound simple but the honest truth is ratings and reviews are often an afterthought for brands and retailers.

So if you adequately prioritize both these strategies, you will stand out from your competition. And who wouldn’t get excited about that?

Alyson Fischer

Alyson Fischer is our Product Marketing Manager, obsessed with using data-driven storytelling to deliver a best-in-class customer experience and inspire dynamic engagement across channels. When she’s not agonizing over writing this bio, you can find her exploring Chicago with her furry sidekick or watching a true crime documentary on Netflix.

Audrey Zuckerman

Audrey is a Business Intelligence Analyst at PowerReviews – passionate about empowering users with data. When she isn’t building reports or writing SQL, you can probably find her hiking the greenbelt in Austin, TX or playing with her dog at Zilker Park.

This is the PowerReviews trends snapshot for June 2021, an analysis of consumer activity across more than 1.5MM online product pages from more than 1,200 retail/brand sites over the past six months.

The headline for this edition is broadly more of the same, with ecommerce purchase volumes and Ratings and Reviews trends remaining consistent over the past couple of months.

However, the biggest trend worthy of note is that review impact on purchase journey is up on what we saw pre-Covid.

Key ecommerce market trends

01

Ecommerce purchase volumes continue to remain stable

02

Review submission levels and product sentiment also remains stable

03

Review impact on online purchase consistently 18% higher than pre-Covid

eCommerce purchase volumes continue to remain stable

After continued stability over the past few months, April and May were a case of more of the same.

Because we measure changes over short periods, it’s worth reiterating that this increase is off a baseline of significantly higher volumes than pre-Covid. 

So at the risk of going old ground, we saw a huge initial surge led to an overall 3x increase in online purchase volumes between February (pre-pandemic) to May 2020 before  a steady decline and then stabilization, with purchase volumes consistently between 40% and 70% higher than they were pre-pandemic.

The Holidays resulted in the typical marked seasonal increase, before a return to post-Covid normality despite the continuing vaccine rollout where online purchase volumes were consistently in the range of 40-70% above where they were pre-pandemic.

Review submissions, length, and product sentiment remain stable

In our Post-Holiday snapshot, we highlighted a giant surge in review volumes – largely to be expected given seasonal purchase increases (hence the increase in December and January).

Since then, review submission has been unsurprisingly consistent given online purchase volumes mirrored this trend.

Review length and sentiment continues to be stable

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, review length and sentiment (in the form of average rating) also remains flat. This has been the case since we started our analysis over a year ago.

So although Covid’s impact on ecommerce generally has been transformational, it has not affected the content of reviews submitted by consumers.

Reviews continue to drive purchase more than pre-Covid

Over the last few monthly snapshots, we have included a deep dive into the impact of review content on the buyer journey – paying particularly close attention to year-on-year comparisons.

The headline from this update: Reviews are continuing to have more of an impact on the purchase than pre-Covid.

To recap, the charts in this section highlight the percentage of online shoppers who go onto purchase after they’ve interacted with review content (i.e. searched, filtered, clicked to extend the review from preview to view entire content etc.)

Although down from a pre-Holiday 2020 high of 5.25%, this figure for April and May 2021 was consistently at around 4.7% (note the 2020 line highlighted below shows the beginning of Covid, when all bets were off).

This represents an 18% increase on the roughly 4% figure that was the norm pre-Covid (as evidenced in early March 2020 below).

 

For more data and insight on how reviews and other forms of user-generated content impact online behavior, checkout our 2021 Conversion Impact of User-Generated Content report.

Summary

In summary, we noted the following clear trends:

  • Online purchases stable
  • Review submission levels and sentiment trends flat
  • Review impact on purchase journey up 18% pre-Covid.

As the extreme ecommerce trends evident at the start of the pandemic fade into the rear view mirror, we will be publishing a market trends update every other month – meaning our next report will be published in August.

Regardless of what they’re shopping for, modern consumers depend on reviews to make informed decisions. Our most recent survey found that 99.9% of online shoppers read reviews,  and 57% of in-store shoppers do so. 

Brands and retailers that generate and display plenty of this content experience a healthy boost to the bottom line. At PowerReviews, we’ve found that when a product page goes from having no reviews to one review, there’s a 108% increase in organic traffic — which means more eyes on your product pages. And our recent analysis of activity on 1.5MM online product pages from more than 1,200 brand and retailer sites found that there’s a 120.3% lift in conversion when a visitor interacts with ratings and reviews on a product page!

With results like these, it’s no wonder why many brands and retailers make it a priority to collect more reviews. In fact, one of the most common questions we get from our customers is, “How can we generate more reviews?”

Of course, there are a number of tactics commonly used to generate reviews, including post purchase emails and SMS messages, among others. But in order to boost your number of reviews, it’s essential to understand why consumers choose to write reviews in the first place. 

We recently surveyed more than 10,000 U.S. shoppers specifically to understand the factors that motivate shoppers to write reviews. Here’s a snapshot of the results:

In this post, we’ll zero in further to explore the top five reasons shoppers write reviews — and how your brand can leverage these motivations to start generating a higher volume of this conversion-boosting content. 

Motivation #1: A Positive Experience

The most successful businesses are those that are laser-focused on consistently delivering great products and experiences. In fact, a study from Forrester Consulting on behalf of Adobe found that 80% of businesses say that improving customer experiences is a top priority.  

Efforts to improve customer experience, when done right, pay off. Great products and experiences lead to happy customers who are likely to spend more with your brand — and tell others about their positive experiences. Research from American Express found that Americans tell an average of 11 people about a great experience with a brand. 

What’s more, great experiences motivate shoppers to leave reviews. 91% of those we surveyed indicate that a positive experience is a factor that motivates them to submit a review.

These positive reviews give future shoppers the confidence they need to convert. So make it a priority to deliver great experiences to shoppers across all stages of the customer journey. Of course, offering great products is important. But so too is ensuring each experience a shopper has with you — whether it’s browsing on your website or mobile app, shopping in one of your stores, or interacting with a customer service representative to resolve an issue — is a positive one. 

Motivation #2: Receiving Free Product Samples

Product sampling is a tactic that’s been used by consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies for years. And for good reason. People are more willing to take the risk of trying a new (or new to them) product if they don’t have to pay for it. And the hope is that those consumers will love the product so much, they’ll start buying it. 

In our latest survey, we also found that 86% of consumers said that free samples motivate them to write reviews. This aligns with the fact that at PowerReviews, we find that an average of 86% of consumers who receive a sample as part of a sampling campaign go on to write a review.

Sampling campaigns not only yield a high volume of content quickly, they also yield great quality content. At PowerReviews, we find that reviews from sampling campaigns are 83% longer on average than reviews captured via non-sampling tactics. This is good news, as detailed reviews are typically more helpful than short, vague ones. 

So if you’re releasing new products (or just have products in need of additional reviews), consider a product sampling campaign. This involves sending out free samples to current customers (or an engaged community of consumers), and then asking for reviews in return. 

When it comes time to display these reviews, remember that transparency is key. Add a badge to these reviews to make it clear that they were submitted as a part of a sampling campaign.

Motivation #3: A Negative Experience

The same American Express research we cited earlier found that on average, Americans tell 15 people about bad experiences they have with a brand. These unhappy customers aren’t just telling their friends and family though. They’re also sharing their feedback with complete strangers by writing reviews. In fact, a negative experience motivates 76% of shoppers to leave a review. 

Of course, we’d never encourage you to purposely deliver negative experiences and subpar products in order to generate more reviews. After all, a customer who has a bad experience probably isn’t going to leave a very flattering review. And negative reviews should never be something to aim for!

But the reality is, the occasional negative review isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it can actually be a good thing.

For starters, our latest survey found that 96% of consumers specifically look for negative reviews, up from 85% in 2018. Reading negative reviews helps shoppers understand the worst case scenario — and decide whether it’s something they can live with. For example, a consumer shopping for a couch might see this one-star review for one product, mentioning that it’s “very, very stiff.” But she prefers firm couches, so this isn’t a concern to her. 

A perfect average star rating can also be a red flag for shoppers because they know a product can’t be all things to all people. Nearly half of shoppers indicate they’re suspicious of products with an average star rating of five out of five. So by displaying negative reviews alongside positive ones, you’re showing shoppers that you have nothing to hide — and that you’re a brand they can trust. 

Finally, negative reviews can be a great way to identify ways to improve your products and experiences. For example, if an athletic apparel brand notices that a particular shirt has a lot of negative reviews that mention the product falling apart soon after purchase, there may be an opportunity to work with the manufacturer to improve the quality of the item.

The bottom line? Don’t aim for negative reviews. But when you get a negative review, resist the temptation to delete it. And be sure to respond to it. According to Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer, 78% of shoppers will forgive a company for a mistake after receiving excellent service. Your response will also show future shoppers that you value feedback and stand behind your products.

If you want to find out more about how to use negative reviews to your benefit, check out our blog on this very topic.

Motivation #4: Incentives 

There are plenty of customers who submit reviews without receiving anything in return. However, nearly three-quarters (73%) of consumers we surveyed said that an incentive would entice them to write a review.

A small incentive can go a long way. So consider offering one to shoppers in exchange for a review. Of course, it’s important to choose an incentive that’ll work well for your brand. However, some options that are particularly appealing to consumers include: 

  • Discounts 
  • Loyalty points
  • Receiving a product before it’s sold to the general public
  • Receiving the product free of charge

Be sure to make the offer clear in your post purchase emails. For example, this post purchase email is offering an entry into a sweepstakes for a $200 gift card in exchange for a review.

Again, transparency is key. Be sure to make it clear when a review was submitted as the result of an incentive. For example, this review includes a “sweepstakes entry” badge, which indicates the customer received an entry into a sweepstakes in exchange for submitting her review. 

Motivation #5: Helping and Guiding Others  

Sure, free samples and incentives can boost review submission rates. But there are plenty of consumers — 67% in fact — who say that the opportunity to help and guide other shoppers is a great motivator to write a review.

Consider tweaking the language in your post purchase emails and write-a-review form to position reviews as a great way to help fellow shoppers. For example, this post purchase email highlights that the customer’s feedback is a “big help to other guests.” 

Leverage Top Shopper Motivations to Start Generating More Reviews 

Today’s shoppers depend on reviews to make informed purchase decisions. And generating a steady stream of this content can enable you to get more visitors to your product pages — and convert them once they’re there. 

Now’s the time to hone your review generation strategy. Once you understand why shoppers write reviews in the first place, you can then focus your efforts on tapping into these motivators to start generating a higher volume of reviews.

Sarah Cougill

Sarah is a marketing specialist at PowerReviews – a software company obsessed with driving growth with UGC. When she isn't rambling about the power of customer feedback, she's walking around Chicago and cooking vegan food for friends and family.

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